14 Set Smoking causes changes in lung cells conducive to cancer
Smoking regularly for years causes changes in lung cells. This makes them more vulnerable to the development of a cancer, shows a study carried out in the laboratory. Published Monday in the u.s. journal Cancer Cell.
(Smoking causes changes in lung cells conducive to cancer)
These researchers have exposed cells of human lung to a liquid form of cigarette for 15 months. This may be equivalent to a person smoking, for twenty to thirty years of one to two packets per day.
After about ten days, they have observed genetic changes in the cells that after 15 months the predisposed more to a cancer.
“When you smoke, you can accumulate genetic changes that, we believe, increase the risk of inducing mutations that are responsible for a tumor,” says Stephen Baylin, co-director of the program in cancer biology at the faculty of medicine of the Johns Hopkins university, one of the main authors of this study.
“Non-smokers have a very low risk of lung cancer”, he says. These genetic defects disable literally multiple genes that are necessary to protect normal cells of lung cancer, explain scientists.
But these genetic changes do not cause DNA mutations, which suggests that people who stop smoking increase their chances of not having cancer.
“This study suggests that it may be possible to reverse these changes in the DNA, the more easily reversible than mutations, among smokers stopping smoking soon enough”, leading Michelle Vaz, a researcher at the faculty of Johns Hopkins medicine, one of the co-authors.
These scientists warn against the fact that their research model in the laboratory does not reproduce may not be exactly what happens in people smoking for many years.
But according to them, this study is a first step in the understanding of the process of “epi-genetic”, which could occur at the very beginning of the transformation of healthy cells in a cancer of the lung.